25 Best PlayStation 2 Games #5 – #1
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is often cited as the high-mark in the franchise, and with good reason. Leon Kennedy's return also included more intelligent "zombies", more horrifying monsters, and more action than previous entries. With the help of RE4's new analog aiming, you had a whole host of opportunities to disable your foes never presented before that drastically changed the way Resident Evil was played. After just a few hours of playing, you didn't care Capcom was eschewing survival horror in favor of more shooter-friendly gameplay; you just wanted to find the president's daughter and get out of that backwoods country with all of your limbs attached.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
Metal Gear Solid 3 was already considered one of the top video games of all time, but Subsistence took the package one step further by including a wealth of new modes and options to further enhance the experience. The original versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 were thrown in alongside a multiplayer component, as well as a new camera control to make the game easier to play. Visually stunning, with one of the most intricate and compelling stories in the series, MGS3 still stands tall as a hallmark of what can be accomplished with a video game. That it was done on the PS2 just makes it all the more impressive.
Grand Theft Auto VIce City
The excess. The soundtrack. The cars. The boats. The city. Grand Theft Auto Vice City had it all, and Rockstar reminded us all just how much fun the '80s were with its seminal open-world title. Vice City wasn't the first GTA game to capture the hearts and minds of gamers around the world, but it's easily one of the most fondly remembered. There's not much to dislike about Vice City, as much of it was inspired by the great Hollywood properties of the era, like Scarface and Miami Vice. It also helped to have the star power to back it up, with celebs like Ray Liotta and countless others contributing their voices to the game. It may not be the deepest or biggest entry in the franchise, but everyone has a story about their experience in Vice City, making its appointment on this list an easy choice.
Shadow of the Colossus
As fantastic as Team Ico's Ico was just a few years earlier, Shadow of the Colossus was even more amazing. What's even more impressive is how Colossus had even less of a clear direction than its spiritual predecessor. The only thing players knew they had to do was ride around on a horse, and combat the gigantic monsters they came across. The platforming was simply executed, but the awe-inspiring vistas and massive beasts you encountered made playing the game an absolute treat. The game comes together in a stunning finale that answered questions you didn't even know you had until everything was finished. Team Ico's "less is more" philosophy paid off in huge dividends, cementing the developer's place as one of the best game makers in the business.
God of War 2
Sony Santa Monica
No game better defines the PlayStation 2 than God of War 2. The return of Kratos was a welcome one, and everything about the sequel was bigger and better than the original. Released at a time when the focus was shifting to the PlayStation 3, God of War 2 milked the PS2 hardware for everything it was worth. Sure, all the new powers and abilities bestowed upon Kratos were nice, but the real treat was the scope and breadth the game presented right from the get-go. Few gamers will ever forget the opening battle against the Colossus of Rhodes, and for good reason. It could be argued the rest of the game didn't quite match the opening, but for most, this first level merely set the stage for as glorious a swan song a console had ever received. God of War 2 isn't just a great game; it's the best game ever made for the PlayStation 2.